Cooper-Hewitt mourns the loss of Red Burns, who was a pioneering force in shaping the interactive media world as a designer and educator. The museum was proud to honor Red with the Design Patron award last year, in recognition of her outstanding support and patronage within the design community.

Burns was an arts professor and chief collaborations officer for the Interactive Telecommunications Program at the Tisch School of the Arts at New York University. She founded the department in 1979 as the Alternate Media Center, and until 2010 served as ITP chair. During the 1970s, she designed and directed a series of projects including a CD-ROM on chaos theory and a two-way television for and by senior citizens—one of the first Teletext field trials in the United States.


Caroline Baumann, director of Cooper-Hewitt, commented, “Red shaped and influenced the way we have interacted with media for over four decades. She nurtured the innovative careers of over 3,000 ITP students, who have gone on to develop the world of digital media as we know it today and as it will become tomorrow. She will be deeply missed.”

Burns has been recognized with numerous awards and honors including a Webby Special Achievement Award in 2011, a Lifetime Achievement Award from Canadian New Media in 2009, and the Mayor of New York’s Award for Excellence in Science and Technology in 1998. 

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